New Male Circumcision Device ‘ShangRing’ Gets WHO Approval With Eye on HIV Prevention

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved a new voluntary male circumcision device called ‘SangRing’ that makes an operation redundant with minimal bleeding and disposable.

ShangRing, named after its inventor Shang Jianzhong, comes with two concentric plastic rings that lock together over the foreskin and make male circumcision easier and help mostly the HIV prevention program in Africa. The program has an ambitious target of getting 20.8 million males circumcised by 2016.

The ShangRing was tested on 1,900 healthy adult men aged 18 years and older in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia and among more than 350 adolescent males aged 13 to 17 years in Kenya and Uganda. Owing to positive results, the WHO has pre-qualified the device for circumcision of all those boys aged 13 to 17 years.

With WHO pre-qualification, ShangRing is recognized as meeting international standards of safety, making it accessible to the Sub-Saharan Africa among others. Earlier research and some positive clinical trials have shown that circumcision can reduce male acquisition of HIV through vaginal intercourse by up to 60 percent.

“This is a major milestone toward improving access to voluntary medical male circumcision, which will help to prevent HIV acquisition in low-resource settings and contribute to the international efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation,” said Jianzhong, chairman of Wuhu Snnda Medical Treatment Appliance Technology Co. in China.

In 2007, the UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended voluntary male circumcision in HIV prevention programs in southern and eastern Africa, where the rates of heterosexually transmitted HIV are high. Now that, the ShangRing is simple and reduces the time for male circumcision by about half, its use is likely to spread.

In 2013 about 2.7 million men in 14 priority countries of East and Southern Africa came forward for medical male circumcision, leading to a cumulative total of 5.82 million males circumcised since 2008. This is almost double from the cumulative 3.2 million males circumcised by the end of 2012.

The WHO is working on an ambitious target of reaching 20.8 million males circumcised by 2016, which will be made easier with the new ShangRing. Donors such as PEPFAR and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have been supporting the program.

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